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Penalties Stiffen For Wood Burning On No-Burn Days

gchapel via iStock

Like the familiar refrain in the Netflix series Game of Thrones, winter is coming. Here along the Wasatch Front, that means we’re approaching inversion season when fine particulate pollution hangs in the Salt Lake Valley.

Fines for burning wood on mandatory no-burn days have long been enforced along the Wasatch Front, but this year the penalties are going up. 
For the past two decades the Department of Environmental Quality has fined people who still burn during bad air days, but this year the penalty is going up from $25 to $150 for first-time offenses.

Donna Spangler works with the department that enforces the rule.

"We need to be serious, we need to actually put a dollar amount on the penalty that is going to be a deterrent for people who normally would just take the $25 fine and not heed those warnings," Spangler says. 

If you’re caught burning again, the fine doubles, going up to almost $300. 

Exemptions are available if a household’s only heat source is wood. The new fines went into effect this week. 

Erik Neumann is a radio producer and writer. A native of the Pacific Northwest, his work has appeared on public radio stations and in magazines along the West Coast. He received his Bachelor's Degree in geography from the University of Washington and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley. Besides working at KUER, he enjoys being outside in just about every way possible.
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